Monday, 20 June 2011

What We Did In School One Day.

Mosaic, murals, marbling, weaving, building, drawing, tie-dying, puppets, pottery, printing, jewellery, 
drumming, turf-mazing, juggling, special effects make-up, sugar paste, felt-making, batik.....
and I just know I'm forgetting many more....

I'd like to tell you about something. A place, actually. An incredible, unique place. A place where the word community means something. Where you can see, in action, just what it means when something is truly the sum of what is put into it. For all the human frailties and stumbles along the way, when heartfelt love and the best intentions fill something up it will always sail strong and true, even in squally weather. 

This is our school.
A place where our children learn about democracy, and humanity, and equality. Where they learn, through colourful and exciting practical projects, and hands on experience, just what it means to be a part of this wonderful, magical existence that is being human, being part of this world of ours.

These pictures may be of just one, exceptional day that takes place each year, but it is a sparkling example of just how magical a place it is. After ten years of attending Art Day, this year I was suddenly struck by just how unique it is. This event may be the biggest, funnest and most popular of them all, but it really is just one of many throughout the year where our children are shown that it is not just lip service, that we really do believe in the best of them. That they can be the best they can be. Yes they are children, with all the necessary mischief and shenanigans that are part and parcel of being so, but ultimately they are trusted and respected, and here, given an autonomy I have rarely seen elsewhere.

And in return they give it all they've got, throwing themselves into whatever it is they are engaged in, with unselfconscious, joyful abandon. I cannot think of anything more we could want from them, can you?

Here they are forming themselves into the adults they will be, laying the cornerstones of their future selves, discovering how to be. And this here is also why we drive 12km to school every day.

Because here is a place where exceptional people, the staff and parents, have taken what could have been an ordinary national school and, over years, turned it into something extraordinary. And I do know it is not unique. All over the country, all over the world, there are exceptional people who dedicate themselves to giving our children what very few of us had, to giving them something extraordinary to take with them into their future.
A belief in themselves and the possibility of being The Best Person They Can Be.

But I do feel blessed to be part of something that really does do 'what it says on the tin!' Here is a school that has an ethos that truly is part of the fabric of it's daily life, that holds it high and says, of course we can do this, because we can do our very best. And that, after all, is good enough.

And as the year comes to a close, Our Only Girl is preparing to leave this place that has been a very significant part of her life, that has seen her grow from a quiet, thumb-sucking 5 year old, to the confident, amazingly together 13 year old who is sailing forth without qualm.

And although she makes ready, with great excitement, to follow her big brother on to secondary school, it has been heartening, and heartbreaking, to see these children prepare to say goodbye to one another, after eight years together, every day. 

The bond between them, as a group, is unlikely to ever be replicated again in their lives, something they don't realise, but I do believe is so deeply ingrained in them that it is truly a part of them. Some of them are moving on together, but all is about to change, as I saw with Our Eldest two years ago, and life is about to stretch out it's dewy, tender wings.

So this is my own heartfelt thank you, to all you amazing people, past and present, who have made this place what it is today. So although one more of our Dearlings is leaving, we still have one in midflow, and one more, The Smallest, just about to start. My time is not yet done here. And though at times, the driving in particular seems interminable, I cannot think of a better place to be.

We are blessed. My heart is full.


Anonymous said...

Wow! How absolutely wonderful! Truly inspiring--thank you for sharing this on your blog. :)

Anonymous said...

I am an artist. My heart is filled with joy and awe! This post is wonderful!

thank you.

gz said...

all that creativity. Hoping that it finds a way to continue in their future, even if in just a small way

Poetry24 said...

Wonderful to see children being educated with a vision that extends way beyond meaningless targets. A subject close to my own heart.

Your word verification is, would you believe it - cariest.

Mimi said...

Ciara, what a fabulous school! You're blessed.
We were blessed with a similar primary school experience, and I'll never forget it. I love the ceremony around the leaving of primary school, and hate to hear of schools that ignore this important milestone.
And milestone it is, because once through the doors of secondary, life is a different beat (exams, points, courses, job, bla, bla bla).

A Daft Scots Lass said...

What a brilliant and colourful project!!

Elaine Prunty said...

i see is that your jay overseeing that brillant flower..gorgeous gorgeous....
that last day is sooh emotional ...i'm sure you cried yourself's compulsory you know

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post - I too have a son moving on from a truly wonderful school, and your post says it all beautifully!

ramona said...

This is so inspiring! What a wonderful experience for the children and adults. It's events like these that one can drink from the well of connectedness through out ones life. Thank you!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

It's what the world needs now! love and community and creativity eqauls beautiful fortunate for you and the world around us. Best of luck to the budding girl.

Liz said...

What a wonderful place.

Rebecca S. said...

Fantastic looking activities there! All the best wishes to you and your 'only girl' as she moves on to the next exciting phase of her young life. I am going to send a link to this post to my friend, who is not only a wonderful teacher, but also has a daughter moving on. xo